Cue "All American Rejects - Dirty Little Secret," definitely the soundtrack to this post!
So I've got a very dirty, dark secret. The strange thing is, I believe we share the exact same secret. It's a craze that has swept across our generation for a few years now and we can't get rid of it – and the sad part is that I don't believe that it's going anywhere.
I'm addicted...and I hope we can all participate in group therapy when I say this, I'm addicted...to social media notifications.
There. I said it. It's out in the open and you all can take a deep breath with me because I know I'm not alone in this. We are a culture obsessed with likes, follows, retweets, shares, posts, and artificial affirmation. It's not our fault. The creation of this wildly obsessive trend has created an obsession of self-indulgence that is motivated by the power of the "Like."
Have you ever caught yourself in a moment that was too good not to post? Have you ever been motivated to go certain places or hangout with certain people just so you'll have something to post? I'll admit it – I have. We've all fallen victim to this. Sometimes we don't even notice it's happening, it's ingrained in our culture so much that we just do it before we have time to think about it. When traveling we "check-in" just to let people know that we're somewhere cool. When we are at concerts we try to get that "perfect shot" so everyone knows we are having the time of our life. We use every last connection to get a retweet from that person of influence to let our followers know we're slightly cooler than people might realize. I've done it all, and it's time to stop pretending you aren't doing it either.
So what's the solution? How do we fix this? Stop tweeting, posting, liking, and sharing? Absolutely not. That is next to impossible in the world we live in. But there is a one step that I've enacted in my life that has helped me check my heart when posting on social media.
Turn off the notifications.
Think about it, what fuels our habit of posting? It's the constant, "so and so liked your post on instagram," or "Justin Bieber Fan Page retweeted your tweet." It's all about the notifications.
About two months ago I turned everything off. I uninstalled Facebook & Facebook Messenger (does anyone even use Facebook anymore??) I turned off notifications from Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. I unsubscribed from all of their emails. For one, they are all really annoying but secondly, it fueled my desire to fabricate moments in my life that could slightly look better than your moments. This was one of the best decisions of my life. I'm not constantly connected to the validation of others on social media. Think about it, isn't that what social media is all about? Back in high school it was all about whether or not you sat at the cool table that validated your social status. Now, it's about your follower count and how many likes you get on a photo. I turned it off, and I haven't regretted one second of it.
My life isn't constantly revolving around me checking my phone or social networks. Yes, it plays a big role in my career, but my motivation has switched from "look how cool I am," to how can I actually connect and add value to those I follow and to those that follow me.
I challenge everyone to evaluate your motives on social media. Mine were wrong, are yours? Try turning off your notifications and see what happens? Are you obsessed with the validation?
Happy Monday :)